Any veteran dog owner will readily attest to why it’s important for an owner to build trust with your dog.
This trust is the building block needed for the respect, bonding, communication, and protection that makes the relationship with man’s best friend so special. You probably know that spending time with your dog and caring for his or her material needs will help foster trust. But there are a number of other measures you can take to ensure your dog has complete trust in you.
Connect with your dog
There should be a certain amount of time each day in which your dog knows it has your undivided attention. This means not talking, texting, or engaging with any other distractions while spending quality time with your dog.
Establish an emotional connection with your dog by looking deep into its eyes while communicating your thoughts and feelings. Ask your dog how the day is going and rub the places on his or her body you know it appreciates.
Your dog will love and appreciate you much more when it knows there is time spent by you each day just “being” with them.
Your dog needs to feel the same safety and security that you and the other “people” in your life need to feel. Never miss a chance to show your dog that you are aware and attentive to the needs they possess. Your dog should know that food will always be available and his or her bowl will always contain water for them to drink.
Make sure your dog’s living space is clean and safe for them. A dog that feels well-protected will make it a point to stand strong for their owner when necessary just as their owner stands for them.
This principle goes hand in hand with the concept of providing your dog with feelings of security. Imagine if someone you depended on for something important never showed up on time or each day you went to work you were told there was a new set of expectations for you. It would be difficult for you to trust the people and situations you face.
Inconsistency and unpredictability are two things that destroy trust. Your dog will be much more confident in you if he or she knows what to expect.
There will be times when you are excited to see your dog and it will be difficult not to demonstrate this excitement. However, it is better for you to show calm and speak softly during regular interaction with your dog. Greeting your dog in an excited state can cause them to confuse the energy you are showing with a sign that a danger exists.
Communicate on your dog’s level
Make it a habit to approach your dog from the side. Once close to the dog, kneel down beside him or her and train your eyes in the same direction. This places you in the personal space of the dog in the most non-confrontational manner possible. You and your dog are now on equal terms as you begin to communicate.
Let your dog to come to you
When in the trust-building stage with a dog, it is sometimes best to let them choose when interacting with you will occur. If a dog approaches you, it is a sign the dog is interested in some form of interaction with you. If the dog licks your hand, this is a sign that you can pet and play with the dog. If he or she turns away, the dog is not interested in further interaction at the time. You should always respect your dog’s space when he or she is not in the mood to be bothered.
Take a walk
The manner in which you walk your dog is an important part of building trust and establishing the dynamics of the relationship. In the dog world, the leader of a pack is always approached by other members of the pack while traveling together. There is no exception to this rule. A daily walk with your dog will help to reinforce who the leader of the pack is on a daily basis. It will also communicate to your dog that you will always provide him or her with both direction and protection. It will not take long for your dog to understand that it is safe if you maintain a calm but assertive demeanor during your daily walks.
Enjoy the bonding process
When you are consistent with the trust-building concepts mentioned above with your dog, a natural bond will begin to form. The desire to be loved and made secure is a common trait shared by all living things. When you create this environment for you and your dog, you will truly understand why the phrase “man’s best friend” was originally coined. Remember that your dog is a trusted member of your family and take the time to enjoy the bond that develops between you. Your dog will sense the love and admiration you have for him or her and reciprocate these emotions many times over.
There are not many relationships that are more enjoyable than the ones that can develop between a human and their dog. But before the full potential of this bond can be realized, you need to build trust with your dog. The eight tips will provide you with a solid foundation for building trust with your dog and have you well on your way to developing a solid relationship with your four-legged family member.